The Sick Man of Europe: The Architect, a solo exhibition of work by Dor Guez curated by Chelsea Haines, opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit in October 2015.
In The Sick Man of Europe, Jerusalem-born artist Dor Guez focused on the plight of marginalized communities in the Middle East. The five-part work by Guez, of mixed Christian-Palestinian and Jewish-Tunisian heritage, reflected on the military history of the Middle East through the creative practices of individual soldiers from the region. “The Sick Man of Europe” was first used in the mid-19th century to describe the Ottoman Empire, but has since been applied at one time or another to nearly every country in Europe and the Middle East. For his installation at MOCAD, Guez appropriated the proverbial “Sick Man” by reconstructing him as an individual and an allegory. Caught in the crosshairs of history, the “Sick Man” blurred the categories of perpetrator and victim, soldier and citizen.
The installation on view at MOCAD, The Architect, told the story of Kemal P., an architecture student recruited into the Turkish army on the eve of World War II. In a video installation – the centerpiece of the exhibition – a much older Kemal looked back on the young architect’s life as the Ottoman Empire transforms into the Republic of Turkey. After the end of World War II and the death of President Atatürk, Kemal P. never worked as an architect. The exhibition also showed a number of ‘scanograms’ as well as an architect’s flat file cabinet of photographs of soldiers collected by Kemal P. over the years.
Artis has provided support for this exhibition through the Exhibition Grants Program. Check back for updates on the development of this exhibition and join our email list or follow us online for ongoing information on this and other grantee projects.